The one key ingredient when it comes to cooking any meat or fish dish in the Caribbean, is the green seasoning mix that’s used in the marinating process. Before we go on I’d like to mention a couple things. This recipe usually calls for 2 key ingredients “shado beni” and “Spanish thyme” (aka podina), both of which I can’t get readily get here in Canada, unless I source out a Thai or Caribbean specialty store. For the “shado beni” I’ve substituted in cilantro, which is somewhat similar but less pungent and I’ve left out the Spanish thyme. If you’re based in the Caribbean or can get those 2 ingredients, please use with caution since they can easily overpower the green seasoning with it’s strong flavors. I also couldn’t get the pimento peppers, so I opted for 1 banana pepper, but you can also use a Cubanelle
There are several variations of this seasoning mix, but this is one that I’ve tested and perfected over the years.
1 bundle of Cilantro (about 1-2 cups)
1 stalk of celery (include leaves if you have it)
1 head or garlic (about 11 cloves)
4 green onions (scallions)
1 bunch of fresh thyme (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt (optional)
2-3 shallots (optional)
2 pimento peppers (1 banana pepper or 1 Cubanelle)
*Food processor or blender.
Peel, trim and wash the ingredients and let drain.
Then rough-cut into smaller pieces so it’s easier to manage and work in the blender or food processor.
Add all the ingredients into your food processor or as in my case, a blender (I’m sure my wife is mad at me for showing you our prehistoric blender)… including the water. You may be required to move around or push down the ingredients occasionally so it all gets worked by the blades.
Personally I like to liquify my blend to the consistency of pesto or even a bit more liquid. However you have the choice at this point to make a bit more chunky-like if you wish.
After a few pulse actions you’ll find that everything blends together quite easily. Here’s a picture of the finished green seasoning :
From this batch I have a plastic container that I pour half into and keep in the fridge for everyday use, the other half I pour into a freezer zip lock bag and freeze until I get through the batch in the fridge. Since you probably won’t be using the seasoning as much as I do, I suggest you divide it into 3-4 portions, keeping 1 in the fridge (can last for 2-3 months) and freeze the rest.
You can also get a couple ice cube trays from the dollar store and fill each ice cube area 1/4 up with the seasoning mix and then freeze. Then when it’s frozen, you can dump the cubes into a freezer bag and place back in the freezer. Now whenever you’re cooking, all you have to do is grab a cube and use.
You’ll notice that after time the once brilliant green color will go darker, don;t be alarmed. That’s natural!
Be sure to leave me your comments or suggestions.
Forgot to mention… this makes about 3 cups of green seasoning.